Today's News - Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Seven Springs Mountain Resort announced yesterday that it is buying nearby Hidden Valley Resort from The Buncher Company. Hidden Valley consists of approximately 1,200 acres, 29 ski slopes and trails, and an 18-hole golf course.

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In Cambria County Court yesterday, 31-year-old Paul Younkin of Colver waived his preliminary hearing. He’s accused of breaking into the Holy Ascension Orthodox Church last month and ripping out the copper. He also allegedly stole tables, chairs, and baskets that had been donated for a fundraiser. Some of the items were found inside of Younkin’s home. He remains in the County Jail.

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Parts of Northern Cambria were pounded by up to five inches of rain in less than an hour Monday night and school was canceled yesterday in the entire Northern Cambria School District. Classes are also canceled for the elementary and middle schools today and tomorrow due to damage which will probably exceed $200 thousand. Professional cleaners are on the job, but the elementary and middle schools could also be closed on Friday. The high school is open for 9th through 12th graders.

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In Cambria County court today, sentencing is scheduled for 28-year-old Edward Reviere of Johnstown who shot his cousin in the kidney following an argument back in October. Rather than go to trial last month, Reviere pleaded guilty to reduced charges of aggravated assault and illegal possession of a firearm. Authorities say the victim, Andre Sampson, did not cooperate with them.

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A Harrisburg court will hear the state's case for a law against gay marriage today. The elected Montgomery Country register has issued marriage licenses to more than 150 same-sex couples in recent weeks. His stance is that the law is unconstitutional because it discriminates against people based on sexual orientation. The state's Department of Health filed the lawsuit to make him stop.

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Lawmakers are debating whether to take action against Syria following the apparent nerve gas attacks. Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey tells WTAJ he is willing to vote for a very specific and narrow use of force against Syria because if the U.S. does nothing, then President Bassar al-Assad will use chemical weapons again, and then Iran and terrorist organizations will be emboldened to do the same. Congressman Glenn Thompson however doesn’t think the U.S. has any business unilaterally launching missile strikes against Syria. Congressman Bill Shuster was in Bedford yesterday and told “The Altoona Mirror” he’s leaning toward voting no on military strikes.

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Under a new plan by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, drivers would no longer be able to pay in cash. With the all electronic tolling, or AET program, drivers either use an EZ Pass or cameras photograph your license plate then you get a bill in the mail. The Turnpike Communications Chief says vehicles would be processed more easily and probably more safely. The commission hopes to have the new multi-million dollar system in place by 2018. It will affect close to 800 toll booth employees and the commission plans to help them find new jobs.

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Former state Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina and co-prosecutor Joseph McGettigan will appear on “60 Minutes Sports” on Showtime tonight talking about the grand jury investigation that helped put Jerry Sandusky behind bars. The show airs at 10 p.m.

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Convicted Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro is dead.  His body was found hanging in his prison cell in Orient, Ohio last night.  Castro apparently took his own life.  Castro was sentenced to life behind bars for holding three women captive in Cleveland for over a decade and repeatedly raping them.  Ohio Rehabilitation and Correction say Castro was in protective custody and was to be checked on every half hour. 

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 A resolution on a possible U.S. military strike on Syria has been drawn up.  After day-long hearings, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee came up with a plan which sets a 60-day deadline with a single 30-day extension possible for the strike to be launched.  The resolution bars the use of American ground forces in Syria.  The resolution was finalized by Committee Chairman Bob Menendez of New Jersey and the panel's ranking minority member, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker.

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Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to appear today before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  His appearance comes as the Obama administration presses its case for military action against Syria.  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will also testify during the hearing.  Obama wants congressional authorization for a limited military operation after more than a thousand people were killed in a chemical weapons attack which the administration blames on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

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FBI Director Robert Mueller is wrapping up his stint as the head of the agency.  Mueller is stepping down today on the 12th anniversary of his taking over the job.  Mueller began on the job just one week before the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001, and says he spent much of the past 12 years working to keep similar events from ever taking place in the U.S.  His supporters say the former Marine worked to transform the FBI into a terrorism-fighting agency.

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A Pennsylvania court will hear the state's case for a law against gay marriage today.  An elected country register has issued marriage licenses to more than 150 same-sex couples in recent weeks.  His stance is that the law is unconstitutional because it discriminates against people based on sexual orientation.  The state's Department of Health filed the lawsuit to make him stop.

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A Florida man is looking at a grand theft charge after unsuccessfully trying to convince police officers he was only borrowing one of their cars.  According to “The Miami Herald,” North Miami Beach police say Stalyn Enrique Hernandez took the cruiser for a joy ride Sunday evening.  Once the cops realized the car was missing, they went out to try to track it down.  They eventually spotted the car and quickly pulled Hernandez over.  At that point, police say the suspect immediately rolled down his window and told them he "just wanted to drive around for a little bit."  Hernandez was arrested for grand theft and taken to Miami-Dade County jail.

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A new poll has found that Princess Diana is the celebrity that most Americans would like to bring back to life if they could.  In the survey conducted by "60 Minutes" and "Vanity Fair," 35 percent of the respondents named Lady Di as their choice.  Fourteen percent said they would like to see Apple founder Steve Jobs living, and 11 percent chose the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.  As for fictional characters that movie-goers had a hard time seeing die on-screen, the overwhelming majority of respondents chose Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack Dawson in "Titanic."  Thirty-two percent of women and 19 percent of men picked the character.  Forty percent the respondents said that if they had to chose one famous catchphrase to have etched on their tombstone, they would go with Frank Sinatra's "The best is yet to come."

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A British woman decided to go with a classic in a recent drugstore heist.  According to Orange News, the suspect sported a fake mustache, a phony nose and sunglasses while she stole a bottle of perfume.  The woman and her accomplice were caught on the store's security camera grabbing the 150-dollar Chanel fragrance and walking out of the building without making any attempt to pay.  Police are now hoping to track down these women, as well as the man they allegedly met up with after the caper.

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